Players: Susie Glaze, guitar, vocals; Steve Rankin, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, vocals
Material: The Susie Glaze New Folk Ensemble Duo is acoustic folk music mixed in with lots of different and assorted styles. Pop, Gospel, Country and even some naughty Irish-ness radiates from each song, making them unique within themselves. The opening tune, “Millworker,” paved the way for an evening of fine folk fusion. Beautifully delivered, both musically and vocally, the two guitars coming together sound like 5 twelve strings chiming off all at once. The vocals are superb and fit the music perfectly as Glaze’s falsetto cuts through the guitars without difficulty and with unnerving ease.
Musicianship: Glaze and Rankin both play guitar well. Years of practice make for a finely, well tuned machine. They were together on every tune from inception ‘til the end. Glaze’s voice is in the upper registry and cuts through anything in her way, while Rankin has a very deep, extremely rough tone that when combined cancel each other out and they wind up in the perfect middle. “Angel from Montgomery” and “Heartland” made for some beautiful harmonizing that poured out as Glaze and Rankin crooned for the audience.
Performance: The performance was great overall. Anticipating what the next song will bring is always a great sign as to which way the performance is going. Tunes like “Mississippi, It’s Time” leave you saying, “Wow, that was great.” Then before you know it, “Soldier/The One I Love” knocks you silly with touching lyrics that make you want to cry. Good interaction with the audience made everyone feel like they were part of the show, so much so, you could almost hear the applause. Each song was pretty unique and the New Folk Duo exude confidence that translates into very likable renditions of all the tunes.
Summary: Although folk music, by tradition, can be glum, angry and depressing, the New Folk Duo tend to sing about positive and uplifting themes. All the songs are great and leave you feeling inspired and refreshed. This particular series from the duo was named the Woodshed Sessions and was curated for the Coffee Gallery in Altadena, CA; A perfect, fun and intimate setting in which to see these two. The music is very traditional sounding but with a modern take on the delivery, and that makes The Susie Glaze New Folk Ensemble Duo the gotta-see group of the summer. – Pierce Brochetti